Not to be confused with the many other tombs littering the metal graveyard this one are based in the US where they were formed over two decades ago. I remember them from previous Candlelight efforts such as Fury Nocturnus released in 2016 and the current key line up comprises of No-One, Tyler B, Samantha Viola and B Zimimay. If you are still scratching your head still, think of the words Total Occult Mechanical Blasphemy and you may well be entering the correct tomb, one forged in blackness, industrialism, ambience and noise. The other thing that sticks out with this particular tomb is their preponderance to gather musical collaborators from near and far to expand the core players. This album for example sees among others the addition of Craig Smilowski (Ex-Immolation), Andy Winter of Winds, Duncan McLaren of Venom Wolf, Mories of Gnaw Their Tongues (etc) on closer Hellmouth (I believe, as individual credits are not given) and notably on drums a certain Hellhammer from Mayhem. If you think these composite components are likely to create a bit of a racket when put together, you would be quite right.
The first couple of tracks are quite different in execution and illustrate two sides of the band. 1st ‘No Return’ sees the more structured song-craft, a clattering black cauldron spurred on with gurgling vocals which perhaps in unexpected non-misanthropic lyricism start with the hollered words “May you live forever!”. Brimstone, occult knowledge and chaos magic are all themes embraced as the musicians somewhat catastrophically create their own chaotic musical deluge. It’s not pleasant and an abrasive entry point as the doors are flung wide open and hell unleashed. By comparison ‘Where The Wretched Lurk’ is more of a soundscape of grim, slow, cloying doom making this a dreadful place and a particularly nasty one to find yourself exploring. From here it is a case of fathoming out what seem as more fully fledged numbers and perhaps more fleeting interludes and ideas such as short pieces such as ‘Invocation.’ On the whole, things are primitive and the recording itself is suitably grimy and leaves you feeling like you have been smothered in earth and interred. Unfortunately, with all this in mind it is at times hard to penetrate and even more difficult for all but the more hardened masters of dark arts to actually enjoy. The title track has a vocal spew and evil vibe that strikes with the primitive feel of a mix of anything from Profanatica to Beherit (check out the crawling dread of ‘Lunar Reckoning’) as much as anything more contemporary and this is definitely a sound that heralds back to the old ways when artists were defining sounds and bashing things out like cavemen. At times there seems like a thicker ballast injected and ‘Decapitation Of The Gods’ has a much more fuller bodied sound than its predecessor, the industrial elements ramped up with more power flowing through the mix.
Although not bad by any means the overall effect is an album that has sporadic elements that don’t always gel together. There are songs that seem like going through motions of ritualistic meandering that are all about conveying dread atmospheres, slapdash noisy clattering such as ‘Escape To Phlegethon’ which also poses the question did someone let a cow in the studio to moo at the beginning and pure noise. There are fortunately some stand out moments such as penultimate number ‘Pure Noise Necromancy’ doing exactly what is described and reminiscent of the likes of Mysticum, Blacklodge and early Aborym but overall I am left with an album that is difficult to fully embrace. Others may find it pure genius and I am sure the band will frighten the hell out of people catching them supporting Mortiis on upcoming tour dates but I can’t say I’m exactly sold.
(6.5/10 Pete Woods)